Designed by Eiichi Motobashi, the Denarau Golf & Racquet Club golf course incorporates a unique Pacific theme with bunkers in the shape of marine creatures. With a par of 72, the 7,150-yard course offers tee positions for all levels of golfers, including four water carry par-threes, four challenging par-fives, and 10 par-fours. The longest hole is 570 yards, and the shortest is 170 yards.
The course is pretty much in the “resort” bracket, rather than championship. For those that don’t know what that means, it is basically a rating system that says the course plays a little easier with wider fairways, less punishing rough etc. For the keen golfer that wants a challenge, you have the option of playing off the back tees. However, the casual amateur will probably appreciate that this course is easier to score well on compared to the upmarket Natadola course.
Conclusion : it’s a fun course, it’s not too hard if you hit the ball reasonably straight, and green fees are considerably cheaper than the more difficult Natadola course
Denarau golf course hole by hole description
Hole 1 – 399 metres
As you walk onto the first tee you will be confronted by a spectacular par 4 that demands a solid drive to carry the water and just right of centre to avoid the palm tree shaped bunker. The approach shot to the green, requires a mid to long iron. Be accurate, this green is protected by two bunkers.
Hole 2 – 338 metres
A drive down the right side of the fairway will help to avoid water on the left and the crab shaped bunker. Achieve this and you are left with a short iron into a large green.
Hole 3 – 160 metres
This 160 metre par 3 requires an accurate iron off the tee. With a severely sloped green, you will want to place your tee shot on the correct tier. The green is protected by a spectacular lake and tidal bunker directly in front of the green, (no you can’t wait for the tide to go out).
Hole 4 – 388 metres
From the tee is where this hole will be won, left and long will leave you in great position to play into the green, right and short and you will need to negotiate palm trees and falling coconuts back to safety.
Hole 5 – 465 metres
This short par five will give you some freedom to get a shot back, the fairway is generous and with a long drive you have the opportunity to go for it in two. Play conservatively, and your third shot will have to negotiate two greenside bunkers that protect this narrow green some 40 metres deep.
Hole 6 – 416 metres
The most difficult par 4 at Denarau stretches to 416 metres. Off the tee, you will need to negotiate bunkers and place the ball just left of centre. Two long shots will put you in good position to reach the green.
Hole 7 – 214 metres
And what a hole it is. This par three requires a long accurate tee shot to get you to the green. Once there you will need to negotiate this two tiered green that will test your putting and green reading skills. Forget about the water down the right side of the hole and the swordfish bunker behind the green and par goes to the card.
Hole 8 – 393 metres
Off the tee let’s you see water in front of you, water down the right side and a giant sea snake shaped bunker on the right side of the fairway. The green slopes from front to back and you will enjoy grass and sand bunkers around the green. Hit the middle of the green and par goes to the card.
Hole 9 – 512 metres
This par 5 will need some concentration and a good tee shot. Off the tee, you will need a long and accurate tee shot to carry the water and put you in position for your second shot, which is also over water. Do this and you are rewarded with a short iron to a two tiered green that slopes from back to front. Don’t go easy yet, there are three greenside bunkers protecting this difficult green. Par is a good score here.
Hole 10 – 391 metres
This hole is a slight dog leg left that requires a tee shot just right of centre. This will allow you a clear view of this generous green protected by bunkers.
Hole 11 – 193 metres
This par 3 demands a long straight tee shot to reach the green. The green is large and slopes from back to front, so choose the correct club. Short is okay as there is a little forgiveness at the front, be right or left of the green and you will have some work to get up and down from here.
Hole 12 – 366 metres
This is a short par 4 dog legs to the left and requires you to place your tee shot just right of centre. This should leave you with a short to mid iron for your second shot and will put you in good shape for a par. Stay focused three greenside bunkers protect this green.
Hole 13 – 397 metres
This par 4 requires an accurate long tee shot just left of centre. Accomplish this and you will need to negotiate a water carry just 40m from the green and a large rain tree, which protects the right side of the green. Do not be long with your approach shot, this green slopes severely from back to front. Par is good score here.
Hole 14 – 516 metres
The longest of the par 5’s requires an accurate tee shot just left of centre. This will leave you with a clear opening to the landing area just short of the green. Avoid the water down the right side and the octopus shaped bunker on the left and a par can be yours.
Hole 15 – 404 metres
This is Denarau’s Signature Hole. As you play along the fairway you will have the sense of something different to the previous holes. Walk onto the green and be swept away by the South Pacific Ocean breeze on a warm summer afternoon. Look out beyond the green as you putt to see the islands keeping guard of the horizon. Make sure you don’t hold the group up behind with the most amazing sunset any golf course has to offer.
Hole 16 – 330 metres
This is the shortest of the par 4’s. Place your tee shot right of centre to avoid the large rain tree that protects the left side of the green. This will leave you with a short iron into this well guarded undulating green.
Hole 17 – 158 metres
This is the shortest par 3 over water to a very generous green that is protected by a large tidal bunker. Hit a good shot here and a possible birdie opportunity awaits you.
Hole 18 – 473 metres
The final hole is a par 5 with two water carries. Hit your drive down the middle to set you up for your second shot over water. If you are a long hitter, then you will have to decide to go for it or just lay up. Hit your second shot just short of the water that fronts the green and you are left with a short pitching wedge to this two tiered green that slopes severely from back to front. Par here and the floor is yours back to the bar and a day you won’t soon forget.